Chrome at 10 days: After a quick peak, use stabilizes

Some readers try new Google browser, go back to using something else

Ten days after Google launched Chrome, the new browser's share of those used it to reach Computerworld's Web site has dropped from a peak of 9.7 percent right after it was released and stabilized at between 5 percent and 6 percent.

Computerworld's data mirrored the trend pegged by Net Applications, a US-based Web analytics vendor that has been tracking Chrome's market share since the browser first appeared. Net Applications' hour-by-hour logs also show Chrome's numbers declining slightly from last week.

Chrome, which Net Applications had at a 1 percent share within hours of its launch, peaked at Computerworld with 9.7 percent on September 3, the day after it debuted.

On September 4, Chrome grabbed third position, accounting for more visits to computerworld.com than Apple's Safari. It could not hold that spot, however, slipping to 5.7 percent the next day, behind Safari's 7.4 percent.

Although it recovered over the weekend -- reaching 6.5 percent on Saturday and 6.6 percent on Sunday -- Chrome's share of Computerworld visitors dropped again to 5.7 percent on Monday, then ticked up to 6 percent the next day before falling again to 4.8 percent on Wednesday. Through about mid-day yesterday, Chrome accounted for 5 percent of the browsers used to reach the site.

However, Computerworld's numbers differ from those generated by Net Applications in one important aspect. Where the latter argued that Chrome's gain had come exclusively at the expense of Internet Explorer (IE) -- and that others, including Firefox, Safari and Opera, also stole share from IE -- Computerworld's data showed that Google's share came at the expense of both IE and Firefox.

Comparing the average share of IE, Firefox and Safari before Chrome debuted to the average share after showed that, at computerworld.com, Google's browser ate into the numbers of both IE and Firefox. Microsoft's browser, for example, dropped 5.5 percentage points, while Firefox slumped 2.4 percentage points.

Apple's Safari went against the grain by boosting its share by 1.6 percentage points from its pre-Chrome average.

The fact that Firefox joined IE in giving up share wasn't surprising, since Computerworld, like many technology sites, regularly counts a much higher percentage of Firefox users than the Internet average. Specifically, Firefox's share on Computerworld is more than double the Web average as tallied by Net Applications for August.

Google launched Chrome as a beta for Windows XP and Vista last week. The browser can be downloaded from here.

Computerworld also tracked the course of IE8, which was updated by Microsoft to Beta 2 on August 27. IE8 -- both Beta 1 and the newest Beta 2 -- was only slightly affected by the debut of Chrome. Prior to the new competition from Google, IE8 accounted for 1.4 percent of the browsers used to visit the site; after Chrome's launch, IE8's share declined slightly, to 1.1 percent.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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